Yellow Dye Allergy Symptoms, Causes and Treatment


yellow dye 5 allergy

Studies carried on food dye reactions conclude that only about 2 to 7 percent of people are allergic to food dyes (1). An allergy is triggered when your body fails to break the food ingredients; this reaction involves your immune system and can be dangerous.

Though Food and Drug Administration approve only safe dyes in foods, few people are either sensitive or can’t digest dyes.

Yellow dye is one among the food coloring that is extensively used in making potato chips, jams, candy, cool drinks and cosmetic products. It is also referred to as FD&C yellow dye 5 or tartrazine. This color dye imparts lemon-yellow color to foods and cosmetics.

Though number of people suspected to this allergy is low, patients with aspirin hypersensitivity will experience yellow dye allergy symptoms. (2)

Rumors are swirled round cool drink like Pepsi and Mountain Dew that they affect reproductive system. But, there is no scientific evidence to back these statements. Few even used Mountain Dew assuming it would help them to control birth. (3) Though it’s not proved, studies conclude that yellow dye 5 triggered allergic reaction in few sensitive people.

Food Standard Agency of UK warned that excess use of yellow dye 5 can cause behavioral changes in children and loss of concentration. Austria and Norway even banned use of yellow dye in their food items. If you don’t pay attention it can lead to serious health risks.

So, one must check ingredients before having any store bought food items. You must consult physician immediately if you see yellow dye 5 allergy symptoms, which are discussed below.

Yellow Dye Allergy Symptoms

There are few myths surrounding this food dye, like adverse effect on male potency, penis size and even sperm count. Anyhow, there is no document to back these statements.yellow dye allergy symptoms

Allergic symptoms may appear after 6 to 14 hours of yellow dye consumption. In a research carried out by University of Guelph about 1 to 10 in every ten thousand people are sensitive to yellow dye 5 and aspirin. It’s like 0.01% of total population, very low.

  1. Food and Drug Administration states that about 0.01% of people experience hives if they are sensitive to tartrazine. Hives are pale red, itchy skin rashes appear on hands, feet, buttocks, legs and face.
  2. Asthma can be caused by various irritants like dust mites, inhaling fumes and food dyes. You need to diagnose to know the exact cause of asthma. It results in difficulty in breathing and swallowing.
  3. Risk of cancer. Anyhow, reports and studies lack to prove toxic effect of yellow 5.
  4. Migraine headache, about 12 percent of US population experience this symptom. Yellow dye is not the only irritant to trigger this symptom. A quick relief from migraine would be inhaling lavender oil.
  5. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are other common symptoms of yellow dye 5 allergy.
  6. In case if you see severe swelling and inflammation of any body part, then reach the doctor for an injection that will immediately reduce swelling.
  7. Other health concerns include hyperactivity, depression, aggression, sleep disturbance and irritability.

If you’re sure that any of the above symptoms are triggered after consuming yellow dye 5then initially avoid foods containing this dye and reach doctor for diagnosis.

Like everyone, you may think that avoiding yellow food items will save you from allergy. You’re wrong; even few items like white cakes, vanilla canned frosting, biscuits and pancakes contain yellow dye 5. So you must literally check every product’s back to confirm it doesn’t include yellow dye.

Don’t forget to check drugs and cosmetic products you use for your beautiful skin.

Though it seems a whole lot of work and nearly impossible, it easy if you notice them. Easiest way is to replace all of them with raw and organic food items.

Turmeric powder can replace yellow dye in few food items. Apart from color, you’ll be reaping nutrients and vitamins for your body.

Yellow dye is made from?

Yellow dye 5 made of coal tar. Yes you read it right, it is the old fashioned coal tar which is used to make yellow dye 5. There are other such dyes which are made from coal. The FDA is has given list of dyes made from coal tar.

Foods with Yellow Dye

You will be shocked to know the full listing of food items containing yellow dye. These items are used daily in every house hold.

  • Pasta
  • Pancake mix
  • Powdered chicken broth
  • Cereals
  • Frostings
  • Pickles
  • Jello
  • Pickles
  • Macaroni
  • Cheese
  • Popsicles
  • Yogurt
  • Ice creams
  • Orange cheese
  • Butter
  • Alcohol mixes
  • Soda
  • Flavoured milk
  • Orange juices and orange color chips

Apart from food items other products which contain the yellow dye are

  • Body wash
  • Soap
  • Tooth paste
  • Mouth wash
  • Conditioner
  • Shaving cream
  • Shampoo
  • Salves
  • Moisturisers

Foods with yellow 5 and 6 dye

Yellow 5                              Yellow 6

Doritos                                              Doritos

Lemon jello                                      Lemon jello

Fruit loops                                        Keebler crackers

M&M                                                  M&M

Starburst                                            Starburst


FDA approved two types of yellow dyes in food, one is yellow dye 5 and other is yellow dye 6. Yellow dye #5 is the second most used dye. Products like chips, cheese flavored items, puddings, sweets, cereals, waffles, soft drinks come under this category. As mentioned above few cosmetic and medicines include this dye.

Daily consumption limit of yellow dye #5 based on Center for Science in the Public Interest is 5mg/day. So you must believe in “Everything in moderation”, include meal and snacks you must eat in moderation to keep yourself at bay from its irritants. However, those you’re sensitive to this dye must completely avoid it in their foods.

Yellow Dye Allergy News

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